01 August 2012

four days of le finistère: the end (fin) of the earth (terre)

tquimper01  you step off the train, cross the tracks, and arrive  at your very own personal welcome sign.

tquimper02 quimper is the name of the city you’re in.

tquimper03 la bretagne (brittany) is the name of the region.

tquimper05 le finistère is the name of the department.

tquimper04  latin: finis terræ, french: fin de la terre, breton: penn ar bedd, engish: end of the earth.

tquimper06 you are in france’s westernmost point. and although you know the earth is round, you still can’t help but feel that in front of this ocean, you really are at the end.

tquimper07because you are. this is your last stop in france. the end of your 2.5 month temporary french life. and while you didn’t think you’d be too sad to leave, now that it’s almost time to go, you are. you are sad.

it’s never easy leaving france and not knowing when and how you’ll be back.

tquimper08 especially when there are so many faces that make you happy. like this one, who adopted you for a french christmas and then flew to istanbul on the same plane as you.

tquimper09 there’s just something about the atlantic coast/english channel you love so much.

IMG_3589  is it how the light here always manages to slightly hurt your eyes ?

tquimper10 or because each time you find yourself in front of the ocean wrapped in a sweater, where the cold and the wind eventually force you into a café afterwards with your favorite people?

tquimper12   a big reason is probably because how much france protects this coastline. no beachfront hotels, no resorts, no tourist attractions – just you and the ocean. like it should be.

tquimper11 some occasional fishermen digging up worms can be found, but they’re okay in your book.

tquimper13 the close proximity to crepes and galettes is another reason you won’t leave out.

tquimper15  off to a village visit in locronan.

tquimper16 old wooden doors shout your name and you force your friends to do some modeling or you.

tquimper17  lately, this seems to be your style. first, a background will call your name. then you will push your friends in front of the background. then the camera is taken out. perhaps one day this mental list of vertical surfaces will come in handy one day.

tquimper18 one more reason why you love this region so much: just move a little bit and change the time by a few hours and suddenly you’re in front of something that is completely different. one would thing these calm gentle waves with clean sand are from the mediterranean, but no, it’s still la bretagne.

tquimper19 there is no such thing as too many galettes.

repeat: no such thing.

tquimper20 rather than dessert, dinner is finished with a quick drive to yet another beach.

tquimper23 this time at most western tip for some sunset watching.

tquimper21 you might have finished eating, but the shorebirds are dining now.

tquimper22 eagerly you wait for that red balloon to drop.

tquimper24 meanwhile, you force your friends to be your top models.

tquimper25 you look down.

tquimper26 you look up.

tquimper27 you look straight ahead – why hello!

anticipation only makes sunsets sweeter.

tquimper29  but your legs soon become a bit tired.

tquimper30 so plop, you sit on the sand next to your friends.

tquimper31  in the end, the sun never made it. thick clouds moved in and blocked everything.

tquimper32 oh well. perhaps another night then.

tquimper33 there are other things to look at on your walk back to the car.

tquimper34 then goodbye and good night. to day one. oh there’s more!  la bretagne must be savored over many days.

tquimper36 the next day is spent first at concarneau.

tquimper37 here you comment to your friend that it reminds you of three places: mont saint-michel, la rochelle, and saint-malo. an island, a port, and walls: three elements that come together in concarneau.

tquimper39 the day ends back at your friends’ home. not the ocean tonight because she has a tapas dinner planned.

tquimper40 you’re the assistant, and your job is to do something with cantaloupe, tomatoes, and brebis.

tquimper38 you help set the table outside, then it is à table.

your favorite phrase. with your favorite people.

the rest of the night is the usual formula: dining, drinking, talking.

tquimper41 then on the third day, your camera wanders away from you. which is how evidence of your pan-fried foie gras lunch exists. you were busy cooking, someone else was busy clicking.

the story is this: over one year ago at a new year’s party you tasted pan-fried foie gras for the very first time. you have never forgotten that taste, and the craving has never left. but seeing as how your last christmas was spent in mali and your next christmas will hopefully be back in west africa, you had to let your friends know that foie gras was on the lunch menu, regardless of the odd timing and their preferences since you needed to taste it one more time while still in france. after all, foie gras in texas? that won’t work.

thank goodness these friends are happy to eat anything and everything with you.

with is the key word – out of principal, you won’t ever eat foie gras alone.

tquimper42 the day continues at pont-aven.

tquimper43 a small village known for its cookies, but its real claim to fame is the aven river where impressionist painters would flock to and paint.

time to leave.

tquimper44 there’s an appointment with the coastline.

tquimper46 this one was found randomly.

tquimper52the formula is such:

1. get on the road that hugs the coast.

2. when a site is spotted, someone says, “let’s pull over!”

3. pull over.

tquimper49 you recall the words of another friend from brittany who isn’t here. he once said that “la bretagne… c’est un peu la mer, un peu la campagne.”

brittany is a bit of the ocean, a bit of the countryside.

it is a common sight to see fields of green with grazing cows and horses and fields of wheat or corn right next to crashing waves and boats and seagulls over your head.

tquimper45 per your recent style, you turn your friends into the top models that they naturally are.

tquimper51  le vieux marin is what your friend titles this photo.

tquimper48 you’re bad at titles. but this one makes you think of a music title: la petite fille de la mer by vangelis.

tquimper53 no title for this one. just you, the ocean, angry skies, and france. a combination you’ll always love.

tquimper47 don’t be misled by these clouds.

tquimper50 that sliver of sky blue peeking out? it has a message for you, “wait. just wait. go eat dinner. then go home. and on your way home, pull over…”

tquimper54 which is what happens. after a dinner of what else, galettes and crepes, a sunset watching spot is found. the car is parked.

tquimper55 you dangle your feet over a wall. and wait.

tquimper56 there are three moments that are important for sunset watchers. it can be as technical as you like but there are only three thing you search for.

the first moment is the light right before the sun drops. also known as golden light. or is it golden hour? you don’t care about the name.

tquimper57 what you do care about is the color of everything around you.

tquimper58 for a brief moment, everything just glows. bricks. sand. your skin. buildings. perhaps skin is your favorite. this is when you glance constantly at your arms, not believing the color your eyes see.

tquimper59 nothing, not even gulls fishing for dinner can escape the touch of this light.

tquimper60 but you must hurry.

tquimper61 because it never lasts long. a few minutes later, and the glow is gone.

tquimper62 but its okay. your second moment you look for is when the red balloon appears and meets the horizon.

tquimper63 that happens even more quickly. once the sun has left the scene, the third moment takes its place.

tquimper66  its when pink takes over the the entire sky.

IMG_4135 and if you happen to be at the ocean, the pink that is in the sky is reflected onto the water. so pink is all over.

tquimper64 then suddenly, all this sunset watching stops as you realize your friends have gotten up and are doing funny poses.

what is going on, you wonder?

mais qu’est-ce que vous faites?” you shout at them. but what are you guys doing?

they don’t respond. you wander closer for a better look.

tquimper65 ahh! tiny fish! lots of petits poissons all trapped by the wall of sand when a giant wave tossed them over. your friends were just throwing them back into the ocean.

then it is in the car, back to your friends’ home, and into bed. one more day in brittany.

tquimper35 the next morning is spent exploring quimper.

tquimper67 you tick off the last thing on your “to eat” list: the galette saucisse.

last moments spent with your friend.

kisses on the cheek.

hugs around the body.

then on a train to paris.

only to then catch a a plane to texas.

1 comment:

donna said...

as always i am mesmerized by your ocean pictures and by the rocks the birds the sunsets the vegetation that you capture......i am a california coast girl, and there is NOTHING that delights my heart and re-energizes me than beach*sand*water.....thanks for the journey